Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Harvesting the tourists

One of the things I've noticed in my travels is a much more aggressive assault on the tourist wallet. It really struck me this past winter how bad things have gotten. The big one that jumps out is parking. That's the first place they get you.

I used to know some great, sorta legal, and free parking places in Key West. Those have been either blocked, or have brand new shiny high dollar meters. It's like that all over the state. On the opposite end of the state at St. Augustine, parking prices have also skyrocketed. They've gotten a lot more serious about their enforcement too.

They've even hit up the boating crowd. In an area that was free anchorages is now a mooring ball field. I'm told that there are sensors on the mooring ball that send a signal when a boat is attached. A boat comes out from the town marina and collects the fare. Lovely.

When so much of the economy has gone south, the harvesting of tourists has gotten more aggressive. It's reached the point, at least in my case, where it's begun to backfire. My wife and I cut our shopping short one day because we had to run back to an expiring meter. Once there, we decided to leave rather than feed the beast once more. Might have saved me a few dollars in the long run, but the merchants lost out.

One day I was looking out over the new mooring field. Way in the distance, I saw a couple shabby looking sailboats at anchor. They weren't paying for those mooring balls. Later, I saw a dingy coming down the channel. They'd come from far enough out that I could not even see their boat. It warmed my heart to see people dodging the exorbitant fees. Bet they were my kind of people.



  1. Good for you and for them. Texas is not the worst place yet, though Austin has recently installed more parking meters downtown in areas they were not before.

    And traveling ceased to be a joy years ago when it cost almost $100 for a decent hotel room with breakfast and you are cheated out of another $15 in taxes. I try to get out, but yes, I end up cutting my time short because of parking and taxes.

  2. thats why had quit going to key west long ago and started going to other parts of florida to stay, shop, or camp out...

    thats why am calling the counk republic the counk emphire.... just like the emphires north of it; disneyworld and washington dc...

    but then am not vacationing south any more, got to pay the bills and stay within my budget..


  3. Yep, the tourist traps down here are in overdrive. That's why I don't leave my little peninsula: it pretty much costs a C note to cross the bridge. Lead me not into temptation...